By ROBERT PALME
INVESTIGATIONS into the recent escape of the country's most wanted man, William Kapris and 11 others has been stalled with the alleged withdrawal of the 18-men team tasked with the job of recapturing them.
The Sunday Chronicle was later told by three different policemen that a directive was received yesterday for the 18-men team to be disbanded and a new team to be appointed by National Capital District command.
It is not known when the new team would be appointed and who would be directly responsible for the selection and who would command the team.
Meanwhile, this paper was also told by senior policemen that the initial 18-men team consisted of:
- one policeman facing a charge of attempt murder;
- four were renegade policemen who were allegedly involved in providing private security for one of the major chain of supermarkets owned by Asians;
- two were reprimanded for alleged giving police uniforms to wanted criminals;
- and one was also reprimanded for his association with known criminals.
The officer refusing to be identified by name said: "If some of these officers have shady backgrounds, how could the police hierarchy have confidence in them?
"There is definitely something not right here."
When commenting on the new alleged directive, he said this is a good decision but the delay due to administrative in-house police matters is giving more time for the criminals to go into hiding.
Attempts to get comments from Metropolitan commander Fred Yakasa all day yesterday were unsuccessful with a policemen at Boroko saying Mr Yakasa was away and not in the office.
When this paper called the Commissioner's office, his secretary said the Commissioner was busy and that if the paper could talk to Assistant Commissioner Raphael Huafolo who was directly responsible for the investigations.
Attempts to get Mr Huafolo on the telephone number supplied by the Commissioner's office were unsuccessful as the telephone rang out.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Operations Tony Wagambi said he could not comment on the issue as it was directly under Mr Huafolo.
Meanwhile, a PNG Defence Force soldier was allegedly taken in on Thursday for questioning in relation to the prison escape.
Kapris and 12 others aided by a pretty woman pretending to be a human rights lawyer made a clean escape in broad daylight three weeks ago.
The alleged driver of the gate away vehicle was arrested along with another criminal who was found dehydrated in Sogeri while the rest of the escapes and the woman are still at large.